Mozzarella maestro Nancy Silverton slicing baby burrata at the James Beard Awards Gala.
As I noted earlier, shooting at the red carpet and covering the ceremony for nearly five hours left me famished. Next up was the gala reception, two entire floors of food and drink tasting stations. Despite the deep crowds and the difficulty of navigating, eating, and drinking without spilling, this was ultimately the best part of the night.
The picture doesn't do it justice, but Back Forty, the East Village offshoot of Savoy restaurant, served an incredible sweet, spicy, and salty cocktail called "The Red and the Black" (after Stendahl, nach). The drink combined muddled strawberries, tequila, lime juice, and black pepper simple syrup. What's more, the rim was coated with sugar, salt, and pepper. If you're into savory/sweet combinations, this was the perfect drink. In fact, I had two (need to learn how to make this at home).
TFS hero Nancy Silverton represented L.A.'s Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza with two amazing mozzarella dishes at her station. Burricotti (right) -- described to me as a "mozzarella balloon" filled with ricotta -- was paired with a braised baby artichoke stuffed with pine nuts and currants.. Equally delicious was burrata served with braised leeks and a mustardy vinaigrette. The dish was topped with crunchy toasted breadcrumbs, a genius (and delicious) contrast to the rich and creamy cheese and leeks. I'm filing this technique away for future reference.
Maricel Presilla of Hoboken's Cucharamama served corn tamales with a fava bean relish and a generous helping of sweet thick-cut smoked bacon. I really need to go have dinner at the restaurant. Now that I live in New Jersey, I have no excuse.